Report on the Distribution of the Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity in a Forensic Psychiatry Program

The social determinants of health are important factors that shape a person’s well-being, life expectancy, and quality of life. The environments in which people live, work, and play are paramount in determining their overall health. As such, viewing health as an outcome, not only of individual choices and biomedical factors but also of socioenvironmental influences, can be an important lens to guide health-care practice. This report examined the social determinants of health of people admitted to inpatient units in a forensic psychiatry program in a major Canadian urban centre. Twenty health variables were collected from the Resident Assessment Instrument–Mental Health form. A deprivation scale was created to understand social and material inequality on a gradient. Findings showed that those surveyed had high rates of poor social determinant of health factors, such as low educational attainment, insecure housing, and lack of secure employment before their admission to the program. Chi-square tests showed associations between material deprivation, race, and comorbidity status. The findings may influence a multisectorial approach to mental illness prevention, management, and recovery practices.

Read more